He Is Risen!

Well, holy shit – ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE (of all things!) gets a movie:

Originally framed as more or less the Nicktoons lineup’s answer to THE SIMPSONS, viewed today I think it can be convincingly argued that ROCKO’S MODERN LIFE might actually hold up better than any of the other 90s animated comedies specifically focused on “everyday nineties life griping” humor – that’s not to say that I don’t still love DUCKMAN, but having viewed both pretty recently it’s ROCKO that I’d say a present-day audience with no nostalgia attachment could “get into” the most easily.

Maybe that has something to do with the specific context of the series’ place as a just-edgy-enough Nickelodeon production repurposing “adult” sitcom humor in kid-friendly (though sometimes only just so) terms: ROCKO was, effectively, a show about explaining the grumpy “life sucks!” humor of grownup sitcoms and stand-up routines in terms a kid audience could understand. It’s almost certainly the case that a lot of the young viewers who caught this between showings of the “bigger” Nicktoons like RUGRATS or DOUG came away with a slightly better understanding of what mom and/or dad were so annoyed by when it came to mysterious “adult world” stuff like The DMV, office politics, paychecks, taxes, etc.

With that in mind, much as I love the unstuck-in-time conceit of the trailer, I hope the actual film eases up on the “LOL we’re from the 90s!” nostalgia-tripping and confronts 2017 on its own terms the way the original series did its own time (the smartphone gag feels the closest to that, i.e. Rocko as the outsider to American conspicuous consumption looking askance at Heffer and Filburt as full-on “buy ins” to that sort of thing.) I’m overcome by a desire – perhaps a bit sadistic – to watch poor hapless Rocko suffer the indignities of social media, “streaming” TV, etc. The brief glimpse at a Nolan/Snyder-ized version of Really-Really-Big Man is amazing, as well.

Please let this one be good!

2 thoughts on “He Is Risen!

  1. Pat says:

    “Only 90’s Kids Will Understand…: The Movie”

    Honestly, this looks pretty interesting and true to the original show’s spirit and tone: topical comedic observations about modern American commercialism through the lens of absurdist Tex Avery-style cartoon slapstick humor. I just feel weird about entering into the phase of my life where media companies are going to start shamelessly pandering to MY nostalgia rather then Gen X and Baby Boomer nostalgia and start echoing MY generation’s short-sighted gripes about youth culture and progress we didn’t ask for. I feel like this is the part of my life where I become “the man”.


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